By all signs, markers remain a mystery

October 28, 1994|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,Sun Staff Writer

The upshot is we still don't know who engraved the "2001: A Space Odyssey" street markers embedded in downtown Baltimore streets.

Last week, we asked readers to help us solve the mystery of the crosswalk markers, which read: Toynbee Ideas in Kubrick's 2001 Resurrect Dead on Planet Jupiter. More than 60 people called.

And like the mystery itself, many of the callers spoke cryptically and kept their identities secret.

They filled us in on about everything except the artist's identity:

* Based on several callers' accounts, the markers apparently first appeared on Baltimore streets five years ago.

* Other marker locations include Light and Pratt streets, Fayette and Gay, Charles and Franklin, Charles and Madison,Charles and Chase, and Chase and Maryland Avenue.

More than a dozen markers have been identified locally.

If we plot the locations of the markers, then maybe we could create an astro map pointing to Jupiter, a caller said. We respectfully declined.

* The 2001 markers aren't only in Baltimore. Callers told us they have seen identical markers on 14th Street in Washington, near Philadelphia's City Hall, Times Square and other spots in New York City, Providence, R.I., and Boston. This suggests the markers were the work of an out-of-towner, a sort of Kilroy Was Here for the Northeast.

* The weekly Washington City Paper in D.C. asked readers a couple of week ago to try to solve the mystery.

To date, they haven't found the artist either.

"Say it's Elvis," a caller told us.

"Done by Howard Stern," said another.

And others weighed in. "A slender, shell-shocked Vietnam veteran who wanders York Road," one caller said.

woman named Rebecca offered a psychological profile of the artist: "White, unmarried male. Some art school training, deeply anti-commercial person. Comes from a poor, hip area. Likes this so-called guerrilla art," she said.

A girl, maybe 6 or 7 years old, said maybe there's an underground version of Stanley Kubrick's classically confusing "2001."

The words on the markers make a connection between the 1968 film and history theories created by late British historian Arnold J. Toynbee.

"Some things are just best left alone," said one message.

Others also felt deeply about us not solving this mystery -- not turning this into another effort along the lines of who-keeps-putting-up-the-Hon-sign.

"Why do we have to explain everything?" a woman asked us.

How very Kubrick of her.

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